Asset classes that are shielded from creditors by Florida law are generally called “protected assets.” Examples of protected assets include:
- Life insurance,
- Retirement accounts,
- Unemployment or disability benefits,
- Social Security benefits,
- Custodial accounts held for minor beneficiaries,
- Florida pre-paid college tuition plans,
- Owned as Tenants by the Entirety.
Other assets are known as “exposed assets” because without special planning they are at risk to creditors and lawsuits. Exposed assets include the following:
- Individual or joint accounts,
- Personal property,
- Individually or jointly owned (non-married) real property.
For individuals with large amounts of assets or those in professions with a high degree of liability such as medicine, finance, law, and real estate development, the safest course of action is to reduce the number of exposed assets. Fortunately, Florida’s asset protection laws are quite fulsome and provide several options for asset protection, including:
- Homestead protections,
- Head of Household exemption,
- Tenancy by the Entirety and Joint Tenancy,
- Irrevocable Trusts,
- Family Limited Partnerships,
- Limited Liability Companies (LLC).
Due to these nuances, asset protection plans are truly bespoke. A comprehensive analysis of your asset portfolio is critical so we can develop the most effective asset protection strategy for your situation.